Facing fears like a…shaking leaf hiding in a cubicle

Because yes, that’s where leaves hide when they are shaking. Well, this one certainly did today at work when we had a TORNADO WARNING. I hear all you mid-USA folk snorting like ‘puh-lease, that happens like every day during particular months…’ (my knowledge of tornado alley extends as far as never go there).

But for good ol’ Melbourne, Australia, this never happens. Which is perfect in my eyes, as for some reason, tornadoes are my all time greatest fear. For some it’s spiders. Or snakes. Or being really high above the ground. For me, it’s tornadoes.

I blame you, Dorothy, I blame you.

I blame you, Dorothy, I blame you.

I was at my desk having a quick chat to some colleagues, when we realised how much rain was bucketing down outside. Our side of the building looks out over the river where it joins the bay – beautiful in good weather, fricking nuts in bad weather. The side we were looking out had pouring rain, but still some light & sky. Then we turned to look out the bay window and saw darkness and a wall of water. Right at that moment, my co-workers phone buzzed and she said ‘Holy crap guys, my sister-in-law says to stay inside coz there are tornadoes in Melbourne’. Oh…my…sweet…lord… Those words I only ever hear in my nightmares when I’m really stressed out were being spoken in real life, and I wasn’t even able to run away and hide in a cupboard (or a basement – I did take comfort in the fact my building has a basement until I remembered my pass doesn’t grant me access).

Turns out the tornadoes were over near where I live (great), so while I stared with terror out the giant glass wall that is the side of my building, convinced I was about to see a waterspout erupt and kill us all with flying shards and scared looking fish, I gave Simon a call. Here’s how it went:

Simon: ‘Hello?’

Me: ‘Are you inside?’

Simon: ‘Yes, why?’

Me: ‘Is the dog inside?’

Simon: ‘No’

Me: ‘Can you get her inside now please?’

Simon: ‘…ok…what is going on?’

Me: ‘There’s a tornado warning out for all of Melbourne and some have touched down near you.  Is she inside?’

Simon: ‘She’s barking. Maybe she’s barking at the tornado!’

Me: *not amused* ‘Is she inside??’

Simon: ‘Yes, yes, and there’s no tornado, she obviously scared it away’.

Very supportive, thank you, partner! He was actually pretty good after that and tried to distract me with chatter about his day but all I could think about was calling my mum to check she was inside too. She was much more supportive. Then I got off the phone and went and hid in the toilet for a moment because I was all shakey and sweaty. Having your dread come to life, even though I didn’t see an actual tornado in front of me was intense. God help me if I ever come face to face with a tornado (well, yes, help me because that would mean certain doom, but you know what I mean). I did manage to hold my shit together mostly though, which I’m pretty proud about. And also had to go face a difficult meeting straight after that, which I sailed through, so screw you fear, you didn’t win this time!


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